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Independent weekly’s editor shares ‘sadness’ after takeover

Andrew MosleyThe editor of an independent weekly has pledged to try and preserve its “unique identity and character” following the newspaper’s takeover.

Andrew Mosley, left, has shared his sadness after it was announced that the family-owned Rotherham Advertiser had been sold to local publishing giant National World.

The Advertiser, which has been published since 1858, was sold alongside its free sister weeklies the Dearne Valley Weekender and the Rotherham Record, and bi-monthly lifestyle magazine Chase.

They will now be managed by National World’s Yorkshire business unit, which also includes nearby titles including the Sheffield Star and Doncaster Free Press.

The sale comes 10 months after the death last July of the Advertiser’s former owner John Dickinson, whose stepson Nick Alexander took it over in 2015.

In an obituary published on the Advertiser’s website, Andrew had previously written of John’s determination to keep the newspaper out of the clutches of the big regional publishers.

He wrote: “Mr Dickinson was passionate about the Advertiser and fought vehemently against any attempt by a major publisher to encroach on the town.

“He was resolute in his determination that the paper would remain independent and not be taken over by, as he put it, the big boys.”

Speaking to HTFP this week, Andrew said: “It’s been a period of concern and uncertainty for everyone here. It happened very quickly and we weren’t aware by our owner of what was happening regarding the sale until late in the process.

“Having been one of the oldest independent newspapers in the country, publishing since 2 January 1858, it’s very sad to lose that.

“We believe our success has been down to the unique identity and character we have forged and persevered with and the close relationship we have with the town and our readers.

“Hopefully we will be able to preserve this and continue to produce a paper that truly represents the people of Rotherham and that we can be proud of.”

The Advertiser was published by Garnett Dickinson, of which John Dickinson was chairman, until his retirement in 2015 when it was taken over by Nick Alexander under the name Regional Media Ltd.

Andrew, a former assistant editor of the Bolton News, became editor in 2012 following the retirement of local press legend Doug Melloy after 27 years in the chair.

He told the paper this week: “I very rarely use the word proud in context of anything I have done, but I was genuinely proud when I was made editor of the Advertiser, and everyone who works here feels that sense of pride.

“This is a new era and we hope the people of Rotherham will continue to support us as we strive to provide them with the best content we possibly can — in paper and online — with the same spirit that has seen the Rotherham Advertiser through the past 165 years.”